Benny and his friend Griffin at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Christmas in the Emergency Room

Poor Benny spent Christmas morning in the emergency room.

He'd been running a fever since Thursday morning and was restless that night. I called the nurse, who said it was probably a virus and call them at the end of Christmas day if he was still feverish. He'd never had an ear infection, just one cold so far.

Well, he was was up crying ALL NIGHT on Christmas Eve. Ron and I got zero sleep, and neither did my mother, who was lying in the living room.

At 6 a.m. Christmas morning, we talked to another nurse, who said that ear infections can be very subtle and he could have one.

Now here's a funny thing: She started talking very cautiously, saying "Now, I don't know what your plans are today, but you might want to take him to the emergency room. But it is probably safe to wait until tomorrow, again, I don't know what your plans are."

I said, "Thats OK, we're not traveling today, and frankly, even if we were, I'd still take him into the ER, this baby is suffering."

She said,"Yeah, just talking to you, I thought you would. But some people are very determined about their Christmas plans. I had to be careful."

I couldn't believe it. Some people would drag their sick baby around on Christmas? I'm sure there's a story behind this nurse's behavior. I'd guess she's dealt with hysterical parents screaming "No! We have to drive to Baton Rouge today! My stepmother's cousin's daughter-in-law made a special Christmas ornament!"

(Whoops, I got a little off-topic there.) Anyway, back to my kid. Ron and I took him to the ER, loudly announcing that our baby has had a fever for days and hasn't slept. Benny promptly produces a 98-degree temp on the rectal thermometer and falls asleep in the hospital bed in his little gown, waiting for the doctor. It was hard to see him lying there. I wanted to scoop him up and run out of the hospital.

But Benny did have an ear infection. A bad one. He perked up on the medicine and took a three-hour nap. That night, he played with his activity table from Santa and chased his cousins. So Christmas came after all.


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